Progressive Democrats’ Bad Crime Reform Results in Emboldened Criminals, Lawlessness

Leader Jones Nicknames California as ‘CRIMEafornia’

In the face of progressive Democrats’ intransigence in dealing with the problems created by Proposition 47, California Senate Republicans delivered a letter requesting the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) to study the problem of rampant retail theft in California, how Prop. 47 (2014) enables it, and provide recommended solutions. The LHC is an independent state oversight agency and is charged with recommending policies to advocate for efficiency and improve government service for Californians. Click here to download the letter.

Prop. 47, known as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” effectively decriminalized drug use and minimized the consequences of theft by eliminating felony penalties for theft under $950, even for repeat offenders. 

In an Op-ed authored by Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego), he labeled California as ‘CRIMEafornia where criminals are emboldened and a sense of lawlessness prevails’.

“There’s a reason people are calling our state ‘CRIMEafornia’,” said Senate Minority Leader Jones. “The increase in theft at all levels – shoplifting, smash-and-grab sprees, and organized retail crime – is stunning, costly, and dangerous. Governor Newsom and Democrat lawmakers simply refuse to fix the problems Prop. 47 created. We are optimistic that the commission’s report will connect the dots on how Prop 47 has enabled drug abuse, escalated homelessness, endangered communities, and turned shopping into a criminal spectacle.”

California Senate Republicans have attempted to repeal or modify Prop. 47’s issues multiple times, including last session with Senate Bill 316 (Niello, 2023). SB 316 would have targeted serial thieves by permitting felony charges if the defendant had served time in jail or prison for three prior theft-related convictions. It died in the Senate Public Safety Committee, the graveyard of many efforts pushed by both Democrats and Republicans to address escalating crime.

“In California, criminals easily get away with serial theft because the majority party continues to shield them from punishment, and our communities and businesses are the ones facing the consequences,” said Sen. Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks). “Throughout the state, shopping at brick and mortar grocery and retail stores has become more burdensome for law-abiding citizens as businesses are forced to put more items behind lock and key. Crime shouldn’t pay, and lawlessness shouldn’t rule.”

Background data on the prevalent problem of retail theft: